China's People's Liberation Army destroyer Xining, leaving Qindgao for the Middle East, 2019. Xinhua/Li Ziheng

As Iran planned attacks on US, Russia & China held naval maneuvers with Iran

Russia and China joined Iran in a four-day combined naval exercise while Iran’s Qods Force prepared attacks on Americans in Iraq.

Warships from Russia, Communist China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran participated in the naval maneuvers in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean from December 27-30.

The exercise was called Marine Security Belt. Further details are scarce. The Chinese did disclose that one of their most advanced Type 052D guided missile destroyers, the Xining, took part in the exercises.

An Iranian admiral claimed that the exercises meant that American freedom of action in Middle Eastern waters was now a thing of the past and that the US Navy must now begin to withdraw from the region.

At that very moment on land, the Major General Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Qods Force, was in Baghdad coordinating attacks on American targets, including the US Embassy.

“Suleimani was well known for his ability to cultivate personal relationships with various militia groups in the Middle East, including Shiite militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen,” the Los Angeles Timesreported.

“In doing so, Suleimani has been credited by Iranian officials with being instrumental in building armed networks across the Middle East to help extend Iran’s regional influence. Starting in 2005, for instance, Suleimani coordinated Iraqi Shiite militias to fight against US forces,” according to the Times.

President Donald Trump’s order to eliminate Suleimani on January 2 might have more far-reaching consequences than striking Iran. It could mark the beginning of a military significant axis of evil among Putin’s Russia, Xi Jinping’s Communist China, and the ayatollahs’ Islamic Republic of Iran.

Suleimani ran Iran’s IED attack campaign against American and Coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing more than 600 Americans and maiming thousands more.

While President Trump has called for expanding the US Naval fleet, the Obama admirals running the Navy are planning cutbacks that went beyond those that had been planned. The Russia-China-Iran naval triad, and introduction of Chinese destroyers armed with new anti-ship missiles, among other things, call for a far more robust US Naval buildup than planned.

About Christopher Holton

Christopher Holton is Vice President for Outreach at the Center for Security Policy. Mr. Holton came to the Center after serving as president and marketing director of Blanchard & Co. and editor-in-chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit from 1990 to 2003. As chief of the Blanchard Economic Research Unit in 2000, he conceived and commissioned the Center for Security Policy special report “Clinton’s Legacy: The Dangerous Decade.” Holton is a member of the Board of Advisers of WorldTribune.com. Follow Holton on Twitter @CHoltonCSP